Thursday, 31 August 2017

August 31st, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It's time to plunge once more into the reckless maelstrom that is the Steve Does Comics Time Vortex and see just what our favourite comics company was up to in the seven day period that ended on this very day, forty years ago.

My in-depth research tells me there was nothing interesting happening in the real world. So, clearly, those mags were going to have to fill the void that reality had consequently left in my youthful life.

Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain #238, the Lizard and Stegron

Spider-Man's still having problems with Stegron and the Lizard. The FF are still having problems with Thundra and the Frightful Four. The Avengers are still having problems with the Collector and his bats of doom, and Captain Britain is still having trouble with werewolves and vampires.

I think I can safely say it's a week of very little change for Marvel UK's second oldest title.

I'd totally forgotten that the Spidey tale takes place at Christmas. Judging by that cover, it doesn't seem to be a time of good will to all men. Once again, the Festive Season has let me down.

Then again, that's what happens when you insist on having it in the middle of August.

Mighty World of Marvel #257, the Hulk vs the Defenders, Dracula vs the Silver Surfer

Meanwhile, the Hulk's still taking his time getting over the death of Jarella.

To be honest, when you look at how bad his memory normally is, it's a miracle he even remembers her.

Speaking of feats of memory, I recall the Silver Surfer/Dracula death-match as being moderately controversial at the time, as not all readers liked the idea of Dracula encountering regular Marvel super-doers.

Marvel UK, Fury #25, last issue

Like a badly designed submarine, Marvel UK's first stab at doing a war comic sinks beneath the waves, never to be seen again.

But what does this mean? Where can Nicholas and his men possibly take refuge?

Surely Marvel UK know their readers can't survive without a weekly dose of his adventures?


dangermash said...

At the end of that Spider-Man tale, Spidey is out in the snow looking for Stegron. In the end he gives up and doesn't see an unconscious, half frozen Stegron slide down the icy slope into the water to meet his apparent end. So I remembered this was a winter's tale. There will be plenty of others though where you remember the time if year and I don't.

The energy on these Spider-Man covers has definitely stepped up since the landscape format was abandoned. MWOM covers, though, are pig ugly. Those old double-feature American comics like Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense, etc knew how to make a striking split cover, but Marvel UK struggle with them.

Steve W. said...

I really hated the split covers. At the time, I think I felt like they were some sort of a curse on my life. I may have taken it all a bit too seriously.

Anonymous said...

Steve, my memory about that Captain Britain story is hazy, but a couple of weeks back you assured me it was about a werewolf vampire.
But now you seem to be saying it was about werewolves and vampires after all...

Love that final Fury cover blurb - like theres any danger the comic will be charged with depth, right?


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - would you know if Fury and his crew were topless inside that sub? Also would you know if they were firing MGs at the walls of the sub?

On a more serious note, though not profound, if I wanted to get a copy of this Fury, what would it run me in the UK? Cant find any on ebay in the USA.

Anonymous said...

I have a sentimental attachment to that issue of Amazing Spider-man because it was one of the first I owned as a kid. The story wasn't the greatest (re-animated dinosaur skeletons) but I always did like the Lizard. I figured it was the end of Stegron when he slid into the icy water, but he would return! Apparently he merely went into suspended animation, like our turtles do when they go under the mud of ponds and rivers in winter. You just can't keep a good reptile down.


Aggy said...

Uk comics rarely go for more than a few quid. That's $5 or so in US money. Although ebay will always have a few chancers putting silly money on issues.

That said they also come up for sale rarely as most comics shops won't touch them due to the lack of a market (exceptions being key issues of British only comics 2000AD).

You might try as they have a good range

Charlie Horse 47 said...

i was just checking on ebay and, since we were exploring Sgt Fury, you can get issue from the mid-1960s through the 1970s for like $1 - $3, all day long. Lots of the 70s stuff is not exactly collectible, despite what Overstreet Price Guide advisers advise, lol.

Anonymous said...

Its the internet, Charlie. Its the same with old records - lots of stuff that was fairly desirable but hard to find suddenly became easier to get hold of just by clicking online so collector-type prices fell.
Meanwhile the cost of real super rarities has gone through the roof.
I suppose its all basic supply and demand...


Anonymous said...

The only Fury story I remember was the one guest starring Captain America. Was that during this original run, or after it merged? I do recall some really nice Kirby art on that one. I think I had both Spidey and MWOM this week. The folks must have felt generous in the last week of the school holidays.


I suspect the real-life issues of Fury may prove a crushing let down, in 2017.


Timothy Field said...

I assume Sgt Fury and his team of stealthless commandos will be scuttling back to MWOM next week (BECAUSE WE DEMANDED IT!) I have been collecting as many of the Marvel UK titles from this era as I can and starting to realise what a pain it is to follow the various characters as they move from title to title. I feel the need for one of those FBI movie walls with all the pictures and notes connected by webs of red string in order to keep track, I think the FF may have been the worst offenders.

Joe S. Walker said...

Fury ended without even an "IMPORTANT NEWS FOR ALL READERS - See inside!" Perhaps sales figures indicated there weren't that many readers and they didn't consider the comic important.

Colin Jones said...

..."there was nothing interesting happening in the real world"...speak for yourself, Steve, because Wednesday, August 31st 1977 was MY VERY FIRST DAY in secondary school as a young whippersnapper aged 11. But all these comics were WEEK ENDING 31st August so it's next week's post that actually features the comics that went on sale the same day as I was putting on my school uniform for the first time :)

Steve W. said...

It's weird, Colin. I could find no mention of you starting secondary school on Wikipedia's list of major world events for that week. No wonder they say we should never trust it.

Timothy, you assume right when it comes to Nick's subsequent fate. For those of us who were delighted to see him and his men depart MWOM after their first stint there, their return was a crushing blow to our sanity.

Sean, I can only apologise for my vampire/werewolf vagueness.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - you are right... The first rule of economics, which seems to escape 90% of the folks I mingle with, is "supply and demand."

I did read a really cool article a few years ago about goods that increased in value b/c of the internet b/c the supply was small and suddenly via the internet "everyone had to have one" instead of just the locals. Unlike my valuable crop of Marvel Werewolf and Vampire and Mummy comics from the 70s, lol.

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